Hong Kong: dim sum, glorious parks, and awe-inspiring views

Sean and I have left Hanoi and been touring Hong Kong for a few days. We are relieved to say that we got our 10 year Chinese visas so we will be able to live in Shenzhen soon! We had a bit of a rough start to the week here but the city has made up for it in so many ways. Hong Kong is a maze of beautiful parks, authentic cuisines, and endless shopping.

First of all I want to say that Sean and I love Hong Kong. Hong Kong has it all; walking the streets you will find yourself roaming huge parks, haggling with street vendors, or in the pristine shopping malls, all on the same block. However, before I say any more about the wonders of this city, I first want to vent a little about some of the problems we’ve been facing since our arrival.

After our short 1.5 hour flight from Hanoi to Hong Kong, we found out that along the way, my luggage was lost. Apparently my bag never even made it onto our flight. Unfortunately, it has been five days since getting this news and there is still no sign of me getting it back. I still have a strand of hope since I’ve heard of this sort of thing taking up to a week but it’s been quite the challenge missing half of our luggage. That being said, I’m glad Sean got his bag since it would be practically impossible to find clothes to fit him plus I plan to do whatever I can to get some reimbursement from Jetstar if they end up never finding it. Fingers crossed!

One other challenge Sean and I have faced this week is living in our tiny Kowloon apartment. It is literally the size of our full-size mattress plus about a 2’x4’ space to stand and place our luggage. We knew it would be small but wow, we are definitely missing our Hanoi apartment which was about four times bigger and four times cheaper! Luckily, the location of our apartment mostly makes up for the tight quarters. We live right about the very popular Temple Street night market where there are tons of vendors selling everything from food to gadgets to souvenirs.

Me inside our tiny room in Kowloon
Temple Street, near our apartment
Me enjoying a bubble waffle from a nearby shop

After spending some time trying to get information about my luggage and applying for our Chinese visas, we were happy to tour Hong Kong. One of the first things we did was get dim sum at Tim Ho Wan. If you ever have even a few hours in Hong Kong, you have got to get some dim sum! The second thing we did was visit the Hong Kong Park. Sean and I felt deprived of nature while we were living in Hanoi so it was revitalizing to be in such a lush park even if it was among the skyscrapers of Hong Kong. Sean and I were surprised to find that the park had free aviaries, a zoo, green houses as well as tons of walking paths among huge trees, peaceful gardens, and impressive water features.

View from a viewing tower in Hong Kong Park
The huge aviary in Hong Kong Park
One of the green houses in Hong Kong Park
So so happy to be among the plants again

On our second day of touring, we decided to learn a little about the history of Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Museum of History. We were impressed by the museum especially for the ancient and premodern history of Hong Kong but somewhat disappointed to find that there was a pretty clear bias on Hong Kong’s recent history. The entire last exhibit was basically a propaganda video crediting China with all of Hong Kong’s modern successes. I would be interested to learn another perspective on this part of history. However, I still recommend going to this museum if you get the chance (it’s free on Wednesdays!) since it provides some decent background of the area.

Sean in the Hong Kong Museum of History (those big towers are made of buns!)

After the museum we bussed to the Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong’s Old Town. Spirals of incense hung from the ceilings and elaborate red and gold statues decorated the main area of worship. As with many temples or churches we have visited in the past, there was a sort of other-worldly presence that seemed to quiet the mind.

Incense hanging from the ceiling of the Man Mo Temple

On our third touring day we took the popular peak tram up to Victoria’s peak for an amazing view of the city. In addition, we hiked around the peak and soaked in the gorgeous views. Afterwards, we got some Hong Kong style wonton and then visited the Kowloon Park near our apartment. To end the day, we got some Indian food take-out and watched the Symphony of Lights at the Avenue of Stars. To be honest, the light show itself was nothing spectacular but it didn’t really matter since the view alone was amazing. Viewing the Hong Kong cityscape lit up at night with lights reflecting off the water was a wonder to behold.

Hong Kong from Victoria Peak
Selfie during our hike around Victoria Peak
Delicious wonton soup
Flamingos in Kowloon Park with the city backdrop
Cool light art near the Avenue of Stars
Night-time cityscape of Hong Kong
Obligatory selfie on the Avenue of Stars

Although it can be pretty pricey, Hong Kong has so much to offer. The food is amazing, the parks are gorgeous, and the people are so friendly. Plus, Hong Kong has all the comforts of the Western world that I have grown accustomed to but with the charm of Chinese style markets and international cuisine. Even though we have had a tough time acclimating to our tiny apartment with only half of our luggage, Hong Kong has been a wonderful experience. We are glad to have this stop on the way to our next destination. Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll describe the remainder of our stay in Hong Kong!

Cheers to Hong Kong (and it’s amazing egg tarts!)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Cara Hayes says:

    Loved to read about it! It looks like an amazing city. I am wondering whether any of the cities you visited/will be visiting have a lot of pollution? What cities are those? Hong Kong looks beautiful and lush. Christina you’re a trooper, I would’ve been bitch fest or have gotten another outfit on day one. 😉 Great to read about your adventures and to talk to you today. Love you both! Will you please make us some asian cuisine next time we’re together? Love
    X Cara
    P.S. You know all I can think about is my stomach… ;D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. christina_mcm says:

      Thanks! To answer your question about pollution, yes, all of the cities we have visited are polluted. We use the air quality index (AQI) to measure daily pollution while living in Asia since pollution influences our behavior (unlike in many other parts of the world where we don’t need to even consider air pollution in our daily lives). AQI fluctuates all the time based mostly on wind patterns. During our time in Hanoi, there were many days of bad pollution (AQI above 200 which is considered very unhealthy) so we would avoid exercise and going outside at all. However, we also had some days where the AQI was as low as 50 (50 and below is consider no risk). Hong Kong and Shenzhen have had AQIs hovering around 100 which is noticeable for people with breathing sensitivities. For us though, we haven’t noticed the pollution much here. We expect the last segment of our trip, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to be the least polluted part of our trip.
      As for not having my bag for a week in HK, it was definitely a pain in the ass but I think being in a new, exciting city helped a lot. Luckily we had most of our valuables in our carry-on and Sean had our toiletries so it could have been way worse/inconvenient. I’m just glad I got my belongings back!
      Thanks for reading and of course, I loved talking with you and the fam yesterday! We would be happy to cook something up for you guys, hopefully in Asheville in a few months!
      Love, Christina


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